13 May 2012, Dhaka. The James P Grant School of Public Health at BRAC University formally opened its new premises in icddr,b’s main campus in Mohakhali on May 8, 2012. The inauguration ceremony was held in two parts. During the first part held at Sasakawa Auditorium, BRAC’s Founder and Chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, KCMG who attended the function as chief guest said, “I am sure this collaboration will be fruitful as well as mutually beneficial for both icddr,b and SPH. From inception in 2004, SPH has come a long way. ”
The 8th batch of candidates for the flagship Masters in Public Health (MPH) programme at the James P Grant School gave a brief presentation. Since the inception of the MPH programme in 2005, the school has had 258 students from 22 countries participating in the programme.
The James P Grant Schoop of Public Health at BRAC University was established in 2004 where each of the three partner institutions, BRAC, Brac University and icddr,b, supports the school’s objectives to foster education, research and leadership.
The school’s name honours the late James P Grant, former Executive Director of UNICEF, whose relentless pursuit of a global revolution in child survival in the 1980s is a legacy we aim to promote for global health for the 21st century. In 2008, journalist Nicholas D. Kristof described Grant as, "a little-known American aid worker," who "probably saved more lives than were destroyed by Hitler, Mao, and Stalin combined" through his promotion of vaccinations and diarrhoea treatments.
The James P Grant School's impact on public health was recognised by The Bulletin of the World Health Organisation in 2007 when it was selected as one of six of the world’s most effective institutions for promoting innovative higher public health education. This achievement is undoubtedly also testimony to the high level of support provided by its institutional partners.
Special guests included BRAC University’s Honourable Vice Chancellor Professor Ainun Nishat and icddr,b’s Executive Director Dr Alejandro Cravioto.
Dr. Cravioto highlighted many additional benefits that the joint venture between icddr,b and BRAC University will deliver, such as the emergence of new research links in the field of public health. The school also utilises the vast expertise of icddr,b’s 15 faculty members, each of whom are accredited professors, associate professors and guest lecturers. Furthermore, Dr. Cravioto noted that scores of Masters of Public Health (MPH) graduates went on to join icddr,b after successfully completing the school's intensive 12-month programme.
Vice Chancellor Professor Ainun Nishat congratulated the James P Grant School of Public Health on the occasion. He went on to mention that BRAC University is having its own campuses build and looks forward to further the relationship.
Field visits arranged by icddr,b to its various field sites, in addition to research linkages between BRAC and icddr,b have enriched scientific learning on the current state of public health research and practice.
Dr. Cravioto said, “This joint venture has created a good opportunity for our researchers to share and disseminate their extensive knowledge in research and experiences in public health through their teaching at the James P Grant School of Public Health. This knowledge can be transmitted worldwide.”
During his address, Dean of the School of Public Health Dr. Timothy G. Evans said, “We’re inaugurating the new premises of the James P Grant School of Public Health. It is allowing the school to align with the vision and insights of its founders. He further elaborated that when plans were being drawn up for the school in 2003 – together with icddr,b, BRAC and BRAC University-jointly planned for the school to be based on the campus of icddr,b as part of expansion of icddr,b campout in 2004. We started with one classroom with a maximum capacity of 30 students. From today we have new premises and the capacity to accommodate over 300 students at any time.’
Dr. Sabina Faiz Rashid, MPH Coordinator gave the vote of thanks. She acknowledged the critical role of core institutional pillars (BRAC University, BRAC and icddr,b) and collaborating partners, development, faculty and students who have contributed to maintaining its excellence.
The chief guest formally inaugurated the school during a ceremony held at the school’s premises on level six of icddr,b building. The inauguration was followed by a tour of the school’s new premises. The Master of Ceremony for the programme was Anuradha Hashemi, Researcher.